Friday, March 31, 2017

French Canadian Rendez-vous

A Canadian dude analyzes the Trudeau-Brazeau boxing match.
To mark the fifth anniversary of Trudeau’s third-round win by TKO, Postmedia enlisted the expertise of Armand Teodorescu, the head coach of Atlas Boxing Club in north Toronto. Teodorescu’s father, Adrian, coached Canadian boxers Lennox Lewis and Egerton Marcus to Olympic medals in 1988. More recently, Atlas veterans Mandy Bujold and Arthur Biyarslanov each won gold at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Teodorescu had never watched the Trudeau-Brazeau fight before last week, but he knows a favourite when he sees one. And in his eyes, the smart money would have been on Trudeau.
“Physically speaking, the advantages are more on Justin’s side,” he said. “Sometimes, you look at two fighters and you see one guy thick and built, and you have the common thought that he should win. (But) it just depends on skill.”

Sun News, the now-defunct network, Canada's answer to Fox News was the foremost provider of footage and commentary for the boxing match, but there is also a French version.

And speaking of French Canadian things I've been watching French-Canadian movies which are so far much more entertaining than French France movies. First is this funny and atmospheric movie about a love triangle Les Amores Imaginares, called Heartbeats in English. They use the song Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) first recorded in the 1960s to a stylish slo-mo effect. The dialog is all in French.

The first fully-staged production of a play of mine, NEW RULES was on the subject of a straight woman and a gay man competing for a bisexual man. Way back in the 20th Century. Although the object of desire in this movie is... well you'll have to see it.

The TV series Sensitive Skin uses a version of "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins under its slow-mo sequences. It is set in Toronto and in English, but a major plot line in Season 1 (much much better than Season 2) is the protagonist Davina (played by Kim Catrall who dated Justin Trudeau's father - small Canadian world!) getting involved with a French Canadian guy.

Last but not least is Les Grande Chaleurs which I just saw last night. The movie isn't especially great although I like the May/December plot line. The plot was fairly predictable though - in spite of the fact that it's in French and I could only get about 40% without the help of Google Translate even with French subtitles. But I am obsessed with its soundtrack which includes both a beautiful song which I cannot find the title for - I've narrowed it down to either Donne Donne or Ch'T'Attends  and a completely addictive song called Bon Swa written by the mysterious DAZMO of whom I can find no information except credits at IMDB, although it might have something to do with this web site. There may also be a Facebook Page.

I cannot find lyrics online for this song, and my translation apps won't touch it because it's a song and they can't understand sung French. All I can make out is:
Bon swa, doo doo bijoux (something) belle bebe - (something) bijoux (something something something something) and then some French talking.
Bijoux, if that's what he's singing, means jewel. Once I start taking my Frenchy-French classes on Monday - and on Wednesday since my Monday-only class was cancelled due to low enrollment so I had to take the more expensive and twice as long course on two nights - I will get somebody to tell me what is being sung here.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Les problems avec "French in Action"

Oh yeah, and Robert is also a stalker
Or "Le français en action" as Google translate would have it.

I'm getting excited because my French course at FI:AF begins on Monday. 

I'm doing extra French studying this week. I'm on like the fourth time through French in Action and I'm picking up more and more of the dialog. 

Robert's father is supposed to be rich - he's the Vice President at a bank (newsflash - in the 21st century, at least, almost everybody who works for a bank is a Vice President, commee moi) but Robert does not take his father's money.

I finally realized all this as well as the reason Robert can afford to travel around France without his parents' money - since he was born his grandparents gave him a hundred bucks every Christmas and birthday and so he now has $4200, which means that Robert is 21.

Anyway, now that I know most of what is happening, I'm not very impressed by the story used to impart lessons in French. In my opinion the story is ruined by the whole "Man in Black" aspect. Spoiler alert, le mec en noir is a talent scout and the reason he's been stalking Mirielle in alarmingly bizarre ways (including coming to chez Mirielle disguised as a nun, but wearing a mustache) is because he wants her to star in a movie.

And another problem with the story is that although it is presented as having two protagonists, Mirielle and Robert, the story favor's Robert's point of view. After they meet we hear all about how Robert feels about Mirielle, but we never hear about how she feels about him, her feelings are a complete mystery. No doubt the male writers of the show didn't even realize they were doing it, they probably take the male gaze so much for granted.

It makes me want to write my own French-language course with a better story. And as it happens, I'm toying with the idea of attempting to translate my NORMA JEANE play into French.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Feminism en français très bien

Cette femme aux cheveux bleus a présenté une bonne chape sur le sujet des hommes stupides qui envoient des photos aux femmes de leurs pénis. Regardez!

Wow, and now I find this woman is a sort of asexual. It's really not fair that an asexual could be so pretty - such a waste.

Turns out there's a whole Youtube world of asexuals out there.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bitter Gertrude on the Bechdel test and "white feminism"

And of course, like the brocialists, SJWs
lie about and smear white feminists like Gloria Steinem.

Steinem and Dorothy Pittman Hughes in 1971
Bitter Gertrude, AKA Melissa Hillman bashes the Bechdel test and pushes the bullshit racist notion of "white feminism."

Intersectionality means that every time there's talk about discrimination against women the SJWs start screaming - BUT ALL WHITE WOMEN ARE PRIVILEGED.

Which, while true in a general and relative sense compared to non-white women, does not negate the fact that all women are disadvantaged as compared to men. And it's constantly noted that the Bechdel test isn't everything - it's a low bar. But that doesn't make it NOTHING.

Social Justice Warriors are consistently willing to sacrifice feminism on the altar of "intersectionality" - and their tactic is exactly the same as that used by Berniebros and brocialists and Susan Sarandon: hold women, especially feminists, to a much higher standard of behavior than anybody else. Unlike every other advocacy group, women are supposed to bend over backwards to consider every issue before their own. That's what "intersectionality" is really all about - for the SJWs the intersection is gender and race, for socialists the issue is gender and class, but in every case feminists are attacked for being so selfish as to think of women's rights first. How dare those bourgeois bitches.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

C'est mon premier ministre d'amour!

That's my Prime Minister of Love! That's how you handle douchebags, Justin Trudeau!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Men are capable of expressing love

An interesting article in the NYTimes entitle The Love Letters of Many Men which observers:
Tenderness hidden behind a tough guy facade may explain why an immaculately handwritten love letter from the slugger Joe DiMaggio to Marilyn Monroe went for far more ($62,500) than any of the several typewritten love letters to her from the playwright Arthur Miller ($1,024 to $9,728). Miller had an easier time expressing his feelings, but his prolixity comes off, perhaps, as more annoying than enchanting. For context, one of Ms. Monroe’s brassieres went for $16,000.

It should also be noted that a brief scrap of an undated love letter from Monroe to Miller fetched $43K - I mentioned that fact, along with the text of the letter, in the NORMA JEANE AT THE PAYNE WHITNEY PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC program.

And while I'm at it, here's another photo from the production. Those are a couple of beautiful people.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Backwards and in heels on Broadway

Apparently the source of that famous quote about Ginger Rogers comes from this cartoon from 1982. It's interesting that the Astaire-Rogers films were made in the 1930 - 40s but nobody remarked about Rogers' disadvantage until 40 years later.

The NYTimes recently published this enraging piece - Two Female Playwrights Arrive on Broadway. What Took So Long?

As the article notes:
“Indecent” and “Sweat” are the only new plays by women this Broadway season; by contrast, there are eight new plays by men (none of whom has credentials comparable to those of Ms. Vogel and Ms. Nottage). The disparity is sometimes worse; in 2013-14 there were no new plays by women. Such imbalance remains a striking incongruity for Broadway, where an estimated 67 percent of the audience is women.

So in other words, Broadway producers consider male playwrights who have not won the Pulitzer Prize more worthy of productions than female playwrights who have won the Pulitzer Prize. This in spite of the fact that women make up a majority of theater-goers.

The article continues:
Both playwrights arrive scarred by the journey — each frustrated by how long it has taken, and still aggrieved that their best-known, and Pulitzer-winning works (Ms. Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive,” and Ms. Nottage’s “Ruined”) never made it to the big stage. But both are also thrilled to be here now, and savoring the sweetness.
I've been writing about this issue since the beginning of this blog, for eleven years. Talking about this issue lead to a clash with top Hillary-hating Bernie-bro Jason Grote who became furious at me for suggesting that women might have obstacles to getting their work produced. I also got some nasty messages from friends of actor/playwright Nat Cassidy for pointing out that even though a clear majority of theater audiences are women, plays by men about manly-men are still favored. (I should admit here that I didn't get such a big response because my blog has such a big audience of theater people, but rather because Mr. Cassidy told his friends to have a look at my blog post that mentioned him. I really should hire him as a promotions manager.)

The hostility you get when you mention these issues might indicate a serious level of denial in the theater world about its own deep-rooted misogyny.

And it's funny how the rules never seem to work for women. 

Normally if your play wins the Pulitzer Prize it gets a run on Broadway, even if it's absolutely mediocre like Anna in the Tropics

Normally if the audience is composed of a certain majority demographic, the field caters to that demographic - much like the reason given for why so many big studio movies are all about superheroes and explosions is because adolescent males are the biggest movie-going demographic. 

Golly, it's almost like there is a deliberate pattern of discrimination against women.

Will there ever be a day when women are no longer hobbled by a world that forces us to compete with men backwards and in heels?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Krugman's prescience & the value of curating

Paul Krugman... veterinarian.
The Baffler, a magazine written and edited by idiots with a superiority complex has two articles in a recent issue ripped right from the NYTimes' favorite genre "liberals are to blame for Trump" as I mentioned a few days ago.

The more ridiculous of the two was about the dangers of "curating" to wit:
A world without fake news might really be awesome. So might a shop where every bottle of wine is excellent. So might an electoral system in which everyone heeds the urging of the professional consensus. But in any such system, reader, people like you and me can be assured with almost perfect confidence that our voices will be curated out.
Curators are the bad guys eliminating the voices of the prosperous centrists like poor Thomas Frank who publishes books and articles for a living.

Frank is a co-founder of The Baffler and of course deciding what will be selected to be included in each issue of the periodical isn't curating, it's editing, so Frank & company are the good guys. Got that?

But I happened to be reading Krugman's brilliant piece, written over twenty years ago, White Collars Turn Blue - the conceit of the piece is that Krugman is writing from the year 2096, a hundred years from the actual publication date - and it got me to thinking about the Frank piece when Krugman writes:
Most important of all, the long-ago prophets of the information age seemed to have forgotten basic economics. When something becomes abundant, it also becomes cheap. A world awash in information is one in which information has very little market value. In general, when the economy becomes extremely good at doing something, that activity becomes less, rather than more, important.

But actually information does have a big market value, but it depends on what kind, as any insider trading convict can tell you. The world is indeed awash in so much information that filtering is the big problem. That's where editors come in - or, in other words curators.

Curating is basically what I do with NYCPlaywrights - I decide which calls for submissions are included. That's why playwrights come to the site, because not only does it save them the trouble of searching for the information themselves, but I make sure that the opportunities do not charge submission fees. That's a value judgment on my part and no other calls for submissions sites  (there are about four other regular, reliable sources in addition to NYCPlaywrights, by my count) filter those out - they all include submission calls that charge fees just to email or snail-mail your work to somebody.

The Huffington Post includes original work (including the review of my play) but it got its start basically reusing the work of other newspapers as a news aggregator.

So I think it's clear that people who are willing to curate the information tsunami are going to be ever more important to the economy. I just did some calculating and if I had about 50 web sites that earned as much in a year as NYCPlaywrights does I could make blogging my full-time job. It's worth thinking about. The only trick is figuring out what kind of information people need you to curate and whether it's profitable to get it to them. I stumbled upon the money-making aspect of NYCPlaywrights almost accidentally - I started out just trying to share info with members of my group which met up in-person. Then I realized that the international reach of the Internet meant I could make money sharing that information. Although of course we are limited to the anglosphere - until I learn French.

I put about 4 hours a week into running NYCPlaywrights, on average, so if I had 50 sites I'd be working 100 hour weeks, unless I hired help or figured out how to do a site in 2 hours per week in which case I could work a more reasonable 50 hours a week. Hmm... worth thinking about.

Krugman ends his 1996 essay in a way that really hits home for me - he's talking about scientists but it goes double for playwrights:
Luckily, the same technology that has made it possible to capitalize directly on knowledge has also created many more opportunities for celebrity. The 500-channel world is a place of many subcultures, each with its own heroes. Still, the celebrity economy has been hard on people -- especially for those with a scholarly bent. A century ago, it was actually possible to make a living as a more or less pure scholar. Now if you want to devote yourself to scholarship, there are only three choices. Like Charles Darwin, you can be born rich. Like Alfred Wallace, the less-fortunate co-discoverer of evolution, you can make your living doing something else and pursue research as a hobby. Or, like many 19th-century scientists, you can try to cash in on a scholarly reputation by going on the lecture circuit. 
But celebrity, though more common, still does not come easily. That is why writing this article is such an opportunity. I actually don't mind my day job in the veterinary clinic, but I have always wanted to be a full-time economist; an article like this may be just what I need to make my dream come true.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Clinton v Trump

Another video for Women in the Age of Trump completed. Three more to go.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Vive les jeunes loups!

Jeune Macron - très beau!
Just in time for my new-found interest in all things French comes the French elections in which centrist Emmanuel Macron appears to be France's last best hope to keep the fascist Marine Pen from becoming president of France:
The centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron is running neck-and-neck with far-right Marine Le Pen in the first round of the French presidential elections, according to a survey published Sunday.
Macron has gained on Le Pen and the two are now polling at 26 percent, according to the survey published by the daily Le Figaro. The conservative candidate François Fillon, who has been beset by a scandal, is at 17 percent while the two leftist candidates, the Socialist Benoît Hamon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the far left, are both at 12 percent with the former losing 4 points and the latter unchanged in the last two weeks.

A centrist in France is probably very similar to a liberal in the United States.

Best of all, Macron represents one more strike against the evolutionary psychology claim that men essentially prefer younger women and women essentially prefer older men - essentially in the sense that they believe the system of older-man/younger-woman has nothing to do with thousands of years of a cultural system of male dominance of human inheritance and financial systems, and instead is the result of our far distant female ancestors preferring older men with money. Macron is wealthy and yet has been married to a woman 23 years his senior for the past ten years - and he was the one who pursued her, from the time he was fifteen.

Back in June, Marie Claire ran an article - illustrated with a photo of Macron and his wife - which mentions that the rate at which marriages are between older women and younger men has jumped from 10% in the 1960s to 16% in the present. Needless to say, 50 years is not an evolutionary time span - so there must be some reason why women are now marrying younger men at a significant rate besides evolution. And it's because the younger woman/older man status quo was never evolution based.

There's all kinds of evidence like that which demonstrates that the belief-system of evolutionary psychology is absolute bullshit - culture is a much stronger control on mating variations than biology. But evo-psychos have never been interested in data or testable theories. Their theory pleases the patriarchy and that's good enough for them.

It should also be noted that people are just not marrying as much as they used to - in large part of course exactly because women are no longer compelled for financial reasons to get married. So the number of couples in which the woman is older is probably much higher than 16% if you count domestic partners.

According to this article Macron's wife Bridgette comes from a wealthy family herself, which might mean something except that Macron went on to become wealthy and still married her. Macron was so cute when he was younger - he's not bad now, for a politician. I mean, he's no Justin Trudeau. But the way he wears his hair isn't attractive - but look at the picture from this article of the young Macron which I posted above. With all that hair - I love it. I'd definitely hit that, assuming he was legal age. And I'm considerably closer in age to Macron than his wife is.

Speaking of the Prime Minister of Love, I found an interesting Youtube video about Macron (age 39) and Trudeau (age 45) from GlobeTV entitled "Complément d'enquête Emmanuel Macron, Trudeau jeunes loups et vieilles recettes? " Which translates as "Additional investigation". Macron, Trudeau: young wolves and old recipes?

It compares the two of them. I haven't finished watching it - I will have more thoughts once I have - but so far my impression is that both politicians are very much influenced by the campaigns of Barack Obama.

What I like about them both is that they demonstrate how the best men of our times have been influenced by feminism - Trudeau proudly calls himself a feminist. I don't know if Macron is a feminist, but he also shows the way to a better future where humanity has broken free of the double standards concerning human sexuality and desirability.

And of course I can watch hours of both these guys speaking in French as a way of learning French. So I say Vive les Jeunes Loups - avec tout les recettes, vielles ou jeune!

And I have to gloat - I was months ahead of the rest of the world in discovering the extreme hotness of the young Justin Trudeau. And that looks like another excuse to post another hot photo of Justin Trudeau.

Oh hell yeah.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Men need to stop it

Emma Lindsay has lots of good things to say. Unfortunately she's also on the "liberals are to blame for Donald Trump" bandwagon which was a real disappointment, but she says things that need to be said. This article about how porn ruins men for real sex is a good one. And especially this part:
Anyway, we now just act like that’s the normal state of things; women have lower sex drive than men cuz testosterone! But, frankly, I’m surprised women have sex drives as high as we do given how little of our culture is devoted to appealing to feminine desire. We’re fed lines like “looks don’t matter to women” to which I would respond HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, looks don’t matter if women aren’t expecting to get any sexual pleasure out of the relationship. Which many aren’t. If you want to attract women for something other than your wallet, however, put some effort into your physical appearance. The average straight guy sets the bar so low on this one, frankly, you probably don’t need to do too much to be pretty good looking. And, even if you don’t end up looking good, looking like you care is probably good enough. It signals that you value a woman’s physical attraction to you.
Of course men like to believe that women don't care about appearances because then they can be lazy slobs. I don't know how many times a man has said to me that he wears his hair the way he does because it's just the easiest way. 

And of course idiot evolutionary psychology proponents keep pushing the idea that women don't care what men look like, even while they point to animal behavior as something that reveals the secrets of human behavior. Jerry Coyne, who likes to attack feminists and Muslims when he isn't pushing bullshit just-so stories, and a pal of that other feminist hating idiot Steven Pinker:
...the conditions for sexual selection hold—a greater variance in male than in female reproductive output—probably explaining why men are bigger and stronger than women, and have beards and other secondary sexual differences. It also explains why male peacocks have showy tails, why male sage grouse do “jumping displays” to attract females...
Funny how male peacocks have showy tails but in many human cultures women are expected to be more showy than men, including our own. Coyne tries to cover that by suggesting that beards are an example of something that has been sexually selected for, but unfortunately for him, women find men without full beards more attractive. 

At least he doesn't try to suggest in this post that baldness is sexually selected for - some other evo-psychos have suggested that very thing. But that's how mindless, how reflexive the evo-psychos are about human culture. While they constantly accuse critics of evolutionary psychology of denying biology - or just science in general - they constantly deny the role that culture has on human behavior.

And human culture is huge. Money does not exist in nature. But in human culture, for millennia, men had all the money. They bought women from their parents to get wives. Eventually, in the twentieth century, women had more opportunity to select the man for themselves, but the principle was still the same - the man had all the money and the women was his "housewife" and traded sex in exchange for room and board.

The last forty years have changed that - the idea of women earning their own money and being able to use it as freely as men goes against all of human cultural history - and culture-deniers like Pinker and the other evo-psycho freaks eternally refuse to acknowledge that much of what they insist is  biologically-endowed behavior is in fact culturally-endowed behavior. And men not needing to care about their appearance is part of the old tradition of men having all the money and using that to buy female beauty.

Men are still in denial about how the world has changed thanks to women having their own incomes. Because where women had to look nice in order to be eligible to be bought by a man, now we have the luxury of choosing men for their appearance too. But looking good does take work, and men think they don't have to work at it. They think they can just keep dressing like truck-drivers and lumberjacks with hideous full beards and ugly short hair - or even worse, the "Hitler youth" look - officially called "the undercut" - and women should still find them irresistible.

Men have to stop being such lazy assholes and think about what women want for a change. They no longer have the luxury of not caring about women's desires.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A tale of two great-great grandfathers

James E. Maguire was born in Ireland in 1833.

William H. Young was born in Philadelphia in 1840.

Young volunteered for the Union army in 1864, and Maguire also joined the Union army but I don't have the date he joined. According to my cousin Lorraine he received a medical discharge due to heart problems.

Meanwhile, William Young had a drinking problem. It's unclear exactly how he earned a living after he got out of the army, but he was such a bad husband and father that in 1874,  according to his wife, Cecelia McAleer Young:
When my said son was about six months old my husband had become so dissipated that I had to have him arrested for non-support and he was sent to Moyamensing Prison where he remained a month and then his mother begged me to let him out so I did.
After that they became so estranged that Cecelia was not certain which year he died:
William H. Young, was killed somewhere up country by falling out of a Wagon, as I understood. I do not remember what year that occurred but I think it was sometime in 1879 or 1880...
...I knew nothing about him for three or four years before his death. He was a very dissipated man during the last years of his life.
My great-great grandmother, in her successful bid to get her late husband's army pension revealed all this information about herself to US government officials. And it's clear she had always had a hard-scrabble life. Her one hopeful moment was meeting John Pfingstag, but luckily he committed bigamy to marry Cecelia and it was the evidence of that bigamy that allowed her to obtain the pension.

Meanwhile after the war James Maguire got a job in "woolen manufacturing" and by 1871 had his own wholesale liquor business that was so successful he was able to become a partner by 1893 in a whiskey distillery.

This recent knowledge of James' career helps clear up the mystery of how his son ended up marrying Mary Wolfington of the Wolfington carriage/car company: they were members of the same socio-economic class.

So how did the granddaughter of William Young and the grandson of James Maguire end up together?

Well things started to go downhill for the Maguires. First, James died in his 60s of his heart condition in 1900. Then his son Thomas died in the 1918 influenza pandemic (along with his oldest son). I'm not sure where that left the James Maguire Co. and its holdings - the company seems to have closed in 1915, but since it was based entirely on alcohol, that would have all been wiped out by Prohibition in 1920.

So my grandfather Martin Maguire, instead of being the heir to the Maguire liquor empire became a driver for the liquor industry, eventually becoming President of Brewery Drivers Local 830, Teamsters Union (AFL). Which he quit in 1948 just in time to die of lung cancer and leave my grandmother with staggering debts, which she eventually paid off through her work as a secretary. So the Maguires went from wealthy to working poor in two generations.

But also there is the mystery of my grandmother's father, George Smith. Because although the Maguire family fortune was on the ropes they still had assets, which was why my grandfather Martin was given a house to move into on his marriage to my grandmother - who was pregnant before the marriage. But my grandmother's mother came from the union of Cecelia McAleer and William Young and she, Mary Young was the only one of their children to make it past early adulthood alive and without a disabling injury.

So was George Smith able to support his family and raise his two children, a son named George and my grandmother Marie Smith well enough to give them a stable family life?

Well just before Cecelia McAleer got her pension in 1904 she wrote:
I had four children by Mr. Young, two of whom are yet living, to wit: Mary C. Smith, wife of Geo B. Smith who live in the same house with me now. 
But it's unclear whether they were living with her, or if she was living with them. My mother, who was born after George Smith died, knows nothing about him. Her grandmother Mary she remembers as being devoutly religious and constantly cooking and cleaning.

In any case, according to family lore, Marie Smith aged 17 met Martin Maguire, aged 16, a lifeguard in Atlantic City and had enough in common to get together and stay together until Martin's death. 

Hearing about Cecelia's life does make Prohibition more understandable - millions of families were in the same predicament: their sole bread-winner, in a time when women were discouraged from having independent incomes, becoming chronic drunks like my great-great grandfather. And even John Pfingstag, a better man than William Young, would occasionally, as Cecelia said "go on sprees."

My mother is a teetotaler and was traumatized by memories of her father coming home drunk and how upsetting that was for her mother, who, assuming George Smith was not an alcoholic, at least heard horror stories about her grandfather's "dissipation." And maybe I just haven't met the right whiskey but I've never been able to get past its turpentine-like smell and harsh taste. I guess I'll stick with pinot noir.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Celebrated Montezuma Rye Whiskey & Me

The "whiskey mark" of the James Maguire Co." printed on a company postcard.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, a cousin on my mother's side posted information about our mutual great-great grandfather James Maguire and his whiskey empire.

I knew that my mother's grandfather Thomas Maguire managed his father's wholesale liquor business, but never realized what a big deal it was until this latest cache of information. Not only did James Maguire distribute liquor, he was a partner in a distillery in Bucks County, just a few miles from Bensalem where I grew up - the Philadelphia Pure Rye Whiskey Distillery. According to the Pittsburgh Dispatch:
Upon the tract of 103 acres at Eddington, Bucks county, which has just been purchased from Mrs. Morris, a wealthy Pottsville widow, will be erected an enormous distillery for the production of rye whisky. The plant will be operated by a new company which has just been organized with a capital of $3,000,000, and which will be known as the Philadelphia Pure Rye Whisky Distilling Company. Nearly every large liquor dealer in this city holds stock in the company.
Despite the fact that the organization of the company has been accomplished so quickly, considerable work has already been done, and the contract for the erection of the buildings will be awarded at a meeting of the Board of Directors tomorrow. Quite a number of bids have been received.
Under the present laws of Pennsylvania there can be no president of a liquor company. Angelo Meyers has been elected Chairman; Henry Van Beil, Secretary, and James Maguire, Treasurer. These gentlemen, with Samuel Humphrey and Louis Gilliams, constitute the Board of Directors.

But also, apparently there was a "Whiskey Trust" that was not to be trifled with, because as the article goes on...
"No, we will not be antagonistic to the Whisky Trust, because the trust does not make rye whisky. The principal advantakes to the stockholders will be in establishing a home industry, which will enable us to economize on shipping. We can probably secure sufficient grain from the farmers of Bucks county to keep us going, so we will not suffer from lack of material. Then, too, we are going to try some new experiments in the manufacture of whisky which are entirely original, and which, if successful, will have a tendency to revolutionize things."
Apparently this is what they meant by Whiskey Trust - according to this article it ended in 1895 anyway, so they needn't have worried.

Here is a description and images of the Distillery by way of the Philadelphia Library's collection of historical images from the Hexamer General Surveys from 1894. The Distillery was powered by four steam engines.

So it turns out that there is a market for pre-Prohibition era artifacts associated with the alcohol business. And it turns out that my great-great grandfather James had lots of artifacts celebrating the celebrated Montezuma Rye Whiskey produced by the Philadelphia Pure Rye Whisky Distilling Company, and many are for sale online. Here is more about those collectables.

A "token" - I have no idea what you'd do with a token that has the name and address
of the business as well as its most celebrated product. But there it is.

Pocket mirror case - I assume this is what the bottle looked like. 
Please note that the name "Montezuma" was trade marked.

Here is something more utilitarian. A small whiskey flask, with the name and address of the business.

Most useful of all - a shot glass emblazoned with
Montezuma Rye Whiskey James Maguire, Philadelphia

Fancy bottle and decanter?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Broadway show with the Prime Minister of Love

I think Justin Trudeau decided to make his visit to the Broadway show COME FROM AWAY a teaching moment for the Trump administration:

Mr. Trudeau’s celebration of a show about Canadians opening their borders and homes to foreigners in need comes at a complex moment for his country’s relationship with its southern neighbor. Beyond the Trump administration’s demands for reworking the North American Free Trade Agreement, its ban on immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries, blocked on Wednesday by a federal judge, has set off a surge in asylum seekers fleeing from the United States to Canada, where they have largely been welcomed.

That's my Premiere Ministre D'Amour!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Monroe auction

One of my favorite items in the auction.

Uh oh, what have I done? I was kicking myself for missing out on previous auctions of Marilyn Monroe stuff at Julien's auctions so I put myself on their mailing list. So I just got a notification of their latest Monroe-themed auction Marilyn Through the Lens - it's only photos, nothing quite as exotic as one of her prescriptions or handwritten poems, but still if I had an extra $600 I would be very tempted...

Another cool photo from the lot.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Liberal" media has found the problem with Our Times: liberals

By way of David Auburn I saw this latest think piece from the genre "the real reason Donald Trump was elected is condescending liberals." This particular example of the genre is Outsmarted On the liberal cult of the cognitive elite.

First off, if there was ever a media outlet obsessed by being seen as the "cognitive elite" it is The Baffler with its relentless contrarianism. The Baffler is the undergraduate's New Yorker.

I've never found much worthwhile in The Baffler, which regularly publishes the brocialist ladies auxiliary leader Amber A'Lee Frost. While poking around in Baffler after I read the Outsmarted piece, I found yet another example of Frost's feminism bashing, ending in lines which could have been written by any of the anti-feminist attack bitches of the right like Christina Hoff Summers or Katie Roiphe:
As Mary Beard’s “public voice of women” has recently mutated into Bustle’s “industrialized confession,” the sudden profusion of women’s voices can be deceptively encouraging. Still, though, certain speakers and stories are privileged over others. And most troubling of all, the stories themselves are largely processed and packaged to conform to an age-old model of women’s victimhood—one that sells.
This is part of the brocialist mission to bravely stand against up against rape victims - something that Frost and her fellow handmaiden of the bros Liza Featherstone were cackling about a year ago on Facebook. How dare victims of a crime consider themselves victims!

Other examples of the blame liberals first genre can be seen in the New York Times - Are Liberals Helping Trump? and Trump Voters are Not the Enemy.

And Outsmarted isn't the only article in Baffler to attack liberals, not by a long shot - in the very same edition there appears an article called The Revolution Will Not Be Curated which suggests that Donald Trump is the understandable response to liberals "curating" too much. 

There's this real reluctance by media people to acknowledge just how racist and misogynist half the USA really is, so a new culprit must be found - liberals must be demonized in order to make Trump voters look good.

You know what's really condescending? Claiming adults couldn't help themselves for voting for a misogynist, racist, lying con man traitor. They would have voted to express their true values if only liberals weren't such meanies!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Finally the first of five Women in the Age of Trump videos

Geez, took me long enough. Marina Re is awesome here. More on the project.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fanny Hensel wrote the Easter Sonata bitches!

"Yeah that's right - ME!"

‘Masculine’ sonata believed to be composed by Felix Mendelssohn was actually written by his sister, Fanny.

In honor of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, pianist Sofya Gulyak performed the “Easter Sonata” under the name of the piece’s actual composer, Fanny Mendelssohn, at the Royal College of Music in London. Long thought to have been the work of Fanny’s brother, legendary 19th century composer Felix Mendelssohn, the recital of the 188-year-old sonata marked the first time it had been performed under Fanny’s name in a public concert hall.

Described at times as “masculine,” “violent,” and “ambitious,” authorship of the “Easter Sonata” had been misattributed to Felix ever since the manuscript of the piece, bearing the signature of one “F Mendelssohn,” was discovered by a record collector in a French book shop in 1970.

It wasn’t until 2010 that the piece’s true authorship was confirmed. Angel Mace Christian, a Duke University graduate student, identified that the manuscript had not only been written in Fanny’s handwriting but also contained page numbers that were missing from another manuscript known to have been composed by Fanny.

Friday, March 10, 2017


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Oh mon dieu Justin Trudeau!

J'adore mon Premiere Ministre d'Amour!

If he does a French version of this message my head will most surely explode.

Also this:

Video Of Justin Trudeau Celebrating Women’s Day Will Make Your Ovaries Explode

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Robert et Mirielle, reunis!

For some reason the actors who played Robert and Mirielle in French in Action a TV show from the mid 1980s, did this skit playing the same characters.

I still don't know French well enough to understand what they are saying but they do mention "French in Action."

The blocking could be better.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

We are suffering machines

There's a scene in the immortal Canadian TV series, "Slings and Arrows" where Richard Smith Jones and Holly Day are plotting to make the Burbage Theater Festival more commercial and they both admit they hate Shakespeare and want to minimize the use of his plays in the Festival.

Unfortunately this is true for a lot of people. But it's not because of Shakespeare's plots - people love his plots which is why they keep endlessly repurposing them, especially ROMEO AND JULIET. It's odd, how often I forget R&J when I'm thinking about Shakespeare's plays and it's because the plot of the play so freaking ubiquitous that the play seems like its own thing, not part of the Shakespearean canon.

In any case the reason people don't like Shakespeare is because they don't understand the meaning of many of his passages and also, it must be said, Shakespeare does go on and on at unnecessary length  as often as possible. Now if you love the language - and understand it - this is a plus, but if you don't then watching a production even of a crowd-pleaser like R&J or MIDSUMMER is all thou blah blah blah odds bodkin blah blah blah it is the east and Juliet is the sun blah blah.

For the most part contemporary American playwrights avoid gratuitous speechifying and heightened poetic language in favor of plain-speaking and getting to the point. When they do indulge in heightened language it stands out. Tony Kushner only does it a few times in ANGELS IN AMERICA, most especially when Prior Walter is in heaven and an angel is suggesting to him that he stay dead instead of asking for more life. In the HBO special version it's delivered by Emma Thompson who has done lots of Shakespearean work and she delivers it in, to my ears, a very Shakespearean way:
Life is a habit with you, you have not seen what is to come, we have. What will the grim unfolding of these latter days bring that you or any being should wish to endure them? Death, more plenteous than all heaven has tears to mourn it: the slow dissolving of the great design;
The spiraling apart of the work of eternity; the world and its beautiful particle logic all collapsed, all dead, forever. We are failing, failing, the earth and the angels.
Oh who asks of the order's blessing with apocalypse descending, who demands more life? When death like a protector blinds our eyes shielding from tender nerve more horror than can be borne? Let any being on whom fortune smiles creep away to death before that last dreadful daybreak when all your ravaging returns to you, when morning blisters crimson and bears all life away, a tidal wave of protean fire that curls around the planet and bears the earth clean as bone.

I like this speech but in truth it isn't entirely necessary - Prior has already given back the Book and declared he wants to live. Kushner was enjoying himself, getting a chance to play with phrases like "beautiful particle logic" and "protean fire" which most of the play with its standard American dialect does not permit him to employ.

For the same reason I used fancy language sparingly in my play NORMA JEANE AT THE PAYNE WHITNEY PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC. For the most part the play uses standard American mid-20th century phrasing.  But in the ninth scene - the entirety of scene 9 consists of a monologue slightly longer than two pages. There are three parts to the monologue - in the second part Norma Jeane talks about being molested as a child, in the third part she talks about what happened when her Aunt Ana died. Those are pretty much straight-up exposition. But the first part is me getting a chance to play with protean fire. I should mention that the very first sentence of this passage is a direct quote from Monroe herself, describing the screaming inmates of the ward she was in at the Payne Whitney.
They cry out when life becomes unbearable. And when life is not, it is always a stone's throw away from unbearable. We are suffering machines. When we become overloaded we self-destruct. But usually it doesn't come to that. Usually the machine chugs along for decades. Sometimes early on, a small glitch appears after the machine goes onto the factory floor. It doesn't cause a problem right away. But then things start to happen. Little breakdowns, they have to call in the maintenance crew. They go to work with their wrenches and their duct tape and put the little machine back on line. It does the work it was designed for at a good steady pace. But then one day the duct tape wears out and it reaches critical mass. It begins to emit smoke and buzzes and shakes and rattles and the maintenance crew comes running, they fixed it before they can fix it again, but no, not this time. The alarm bells clang clang clang. And finally the suffering machine breaks down completely and forever. The question isn't "why is anybody so sad," the question is why is anybody ever happy, with the odds stacked against it, when happiness is uncertain and suffering is what we have been created for. 
It's not a coincidence that the topic of both Kushner's and my passages here is LIFE ITSELF. My language isn't heightened as in Kushner's passage, I get my literary jollies through an extended metaphor, which harkens back to a previous monologue in the play in which Norma Jeane talks about the time she worked in a factory.

I don't think the reviewer in HuffPo noticed this passage was different from the rest of the play, much less anybody else in the audience. But I sure knew it. I told the actor playing Norma Jeane that while I preferred she spoke my lines as written throughout the entire performance, the only part of the play I insisted she say exactly as written was this one. As in poetry, it really matters which words appear in which order. And so during one of the performances when she said "...the question is why is anybody so happy" instead of "the question is why is anybody ever happy" it was like a kick in the head. It's only one word, but it changes the meaning of the sentence entirely and makes it stupid - nobody would say "why is anybody so happy." I guess I should consider myself lucky that an American audience sat in attentive silence during a speech that was more philosophy than exposition.

Also instead of "a good steady pace" she kept saying "a good and steady pace" but although not as elegant with the gratuitous and thrown in there, at least it has the same meaning. 

I'm not one to subscribe to the suffering artist theory. I don't think depression and anguish are necessarily the midwives of art. But it so happens that I was really suffering when I wrote this particular passage. And most of the time I believe everything in that passage, especially the last sentence. It is the truest thing I ever wrote.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Last-minute Sprinter

I thought we were going to miss Sprinter this year because it was so warm in February but then just in the nick of time Sprinter arrived this weekend when it got cold again. So Happy Sprinter!

And check it out, turns out Sprinter is a Canadian thing:

18 Struggles All Canadians Understand About “Sprinter”

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Have I ever mentioned what a misogynist POS Doug Henwood is?

Here is Doug Henwood attacking Gloria Steinem, as per usual because that's what he and brocialist scum like his wife Liza Featherstone and buddy asshole Amber A'Lee Frost do.

Steinem didn't work directly for the CIA. She asked for funds to help Americans go to India. And this was in 1962. Henwood shared this video on Twitter which says exactly that.

Henwood, ever the shameless brocialist hypocrite was himself once a conservative. But you are supposed to forgive him for that. Because the never-ending brocialist campaign to smear feminism means that they have a much lower bar for brocialist behavior than feminist behavior.
(Henwood) received a B.A. in English from Yale University in 1975. As a youth Henwood was acquainted with Marxism, but for a period late in high school into his early years at Yale, he identified as a conservative, briefly joining the Party of the Right:[1]
And about his tender concern for poor Sigmund Freud - even other socialists recognize the problem of Freud:
Freud’s biological determinism contributed to the reaction. In Civilization and Its Discontents (1930), he wrote, “The psychological premises on which the system [of communism] is based are an untenable illusion” because “nature, by endowing individuals with extremely unequal physical attributes and mental capacities, has introduced injustices against which there is no remedy.”
While Marxists celebrate the social nature of human beings, Freud saw human beings as innately aggressive, so he feared mass democracy. In Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921) he wrote that being in a crowd overrides the social constraints that keep animal instincts under control. And in The Future of an Illusion (1927) he warned, “These dangerous masses must be held down most severely and kept most carefully away from any chance of intellectual awakening.”
Virtually all research into childhood trauma ceased, and doctors were warned not to believe patient reports of childhood sexual assault. As late as 1975 the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (US) estimated the frequency of incest as one case per million.

If it turns out that Henwood is on the payroll of the Koch brothers or some other right-wing organization, I will not be one bit surprised. He is a cancer of the left.

You have to wonder why anybody cares what he has to say about anything at all, he's such a flagrant piece of shit.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Je suis désolée, Monsieur Urban

I took French in my sophomore year of high school and sorry to say I did not learn much.

For one, it was my first class of the day and I was often completely baked with smoking pot with friends on "the patio" which was a small area in the back of the school where smokers could smoke.

I used to think that the girl who was sitting in front of me in French class was giving me the side-eye, which would make me giggle like a maniac - which of course would result in her actually giving me the side-eye, which would make me laugh even more.

La pothead qui rit!

I also smoked cigarettes in those days too, like most of my high school friends.

Henry Urban was my French teacher and I can only assume he is dead by now although I scoured the internet for any proof of this and found none. The only thing I retained from his class is "j'ai aller au toilette" which is basically "I have to go to the bathroom." I asked for this most days I was in class, and it wasn't because of a bladder problem it's because I would have a cigarette in the ladies' bathroom.

In retrospect I think maybe he was fine with me smoking cigarettes in the ladies room since smoking is such a quintessentially French thing to do, especially in those days.

Now, of course, I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention in French class, and am doing my best to make up for lost time. If only Monsieur Urban could hear me now, I would say to him: "Excusez-moi, M. Urban, je voudrais aller au toilette pour fumer des cigarettes."

How proud he would be.

Friday, March 03, 2017

It's Frenchie-French time!

I had my placement evaluation by telephone and it was very interesting. The evaluator spoke to me exclusively in French and I understood everything she said to me. Granted she already saw my online writing test and knew my French was pretty rough, and probably spoke as simply as possible, but still, that was pretty exciting. I spoke back to her in a melange of French and English and it was clear that my understanding of past tense and my ability to distinguish between etre and avoir were both pretty pathetic. C'est la vie, je va apprendre! On y va!

But to my surprise, instead of placing me into level 102 (one step up from the lowest level, 101) instead I was placed into 103. Formidable!

So I immediately signed up for my class, which will be on Mondays from 6:30 to 9:30 PM beginning April 3, a month from today. Tres bon!

Now that I am getting even more serious about studying  French, I will have to change a few things - for example, I must give up the idea that it is necessary to both eat cheese and drink wine while I am watching "French in Action" - especially since I mainly drink California wine anyway, which makes it that much more obvious I am just using French as an excuse to drink wine.

I will have to learn more about France now. In addition to Paris, I may focus on the northeast, since that is where my French ancestors on my paternal grandmother's side come from, going all the way back to Andre and Elisabeth Dreyer - my distant cousin did not discover their birth dates, but their son Daniel died in 1740, so it's safe to assume they were both born in the late 1600s.

It should be noted that the part of France they were from, identified as Mittelbronn, Sarrebourg, Moselle, Lorraine, wasn't actually part of France when Daniel and Elisabeth lived there. It was in some weird grey area between sort-of-France and sort-of-Germany.

It looks pretty bucolic to this day.

Ancestral homeland right here

Most of my ancestry is Scots-Irish but it's nice to have this other aspect - and the best-documented too, going back to the late 1600s. No wonder I love wine and cheese so much!

Somebody ain't gonna be a mofo any time soon.

I keep trying to swear off men and just get used to the prospect of living the rest of my life in celibacy, but something always happens - like I spend time with an attractive man I want but inevitably can't have for one reason or another. And it makes me remember how nice it is to have a man you really want. But that is so impossible to find - my former therapist used to refer to the romantic prospects for women in New York City as "the wasteland" - that the sheer despair soon, once again, crushes your soul.

You get messages from creeps like this guy. WTF - "mommy"? Is that what 30-something white nerdy-looking guys are now calling women? Or just women older than them?

I didn't hear back from him after I responded in a manner his query deserved. Guess he doesn't appreciate my humor.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Ma vie française encore

Well now that I don't have to think about my play production 24/7 I can return to studying la belle française.

I am getting serious now - I took the Alliance Francaise placement test. The test involved giving directions and what I wrote, after I checked it by running it through Google translate, was pretty bad. At this rate I'll end up in the raw beginners class. The next step is a French instructor is going to call me and do some more testing over the phone. God only knows how that will turn out.

Mon Dieu!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Yay good review!

Probably the most attractive cast I'll ever have.
Jenna Sander as Norma Jeane, Matthew DeCapua as Dr. Mark Lewis
Photo by Renee Nicole Gray

It was a nice birthday present to have a pretty good review in the Huffington Post of NORMA JEANE AT THE PAYNE WHITNEY PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC. The critic's main beef was with my casting a 20 year old brunette to portray the 34-year-old blonde Monroe. I can live with that.

Favorite parts:

The Marilyn Monroe in THIS play can also hold her own, especially when she spits a pill back at her doctor, or hits back at her tormentor with some teasing of her own (”You let me out of here, and I won’t tell anyone your ‘secret’!”) I won’t give away anything that’s not already part of Marilyn Monroe lore, but let’s just say that, believe it or not, there IS a gay ending (”gay” as in “happy” as well as the modern-day meaning...)
The performances by Sander and DeCapua are excellent...
both writer/director McClernan and Sander both deserve credit for avoiding the larger-than-life, often cliched “Monroe-isms” that have been done so often by Marilyn’s many imitators, including drag artists. Both Norma Jeane and Marilyn, who struggled with their co-existing personas for so long, would have both no doubt appreciated that.
Today I submitted a copy of the play to the Woodward/Newman Drama Award, as seen at NYCPlaywrights. Hopefully they won't think I'm sucking up because Joanne Woodward is mentioned, glowingly, in the play:

          DR. LEWIS

At what point do you become her? Do you have blackouts?

          NORMA JEANE

Like in The Three Faces of Eve? Didn't Joanne Woodward give the most incredible performance you ever saw? I admire her so much. Can you imagine how wonderful it must be, to be Joanne Woodward? To have such a career and to play such roles?
This was the first speech that Jenna really nailed perfectly during rehearsals so I'm especially fond of it.